It has happened again. Every election season California's legislators -- who are ostensibly working in Sacramento to adjudicate important and difficult issues and reach the best conclusions -- shirk their duties. They shift this task back to the people, in the form of voter propositions.
Rather than standing as a testament to the glories of direct democracy, California's excessive reliance on voter propositions point to the failure of political representation as a viable form of governance. And so we have 17 propositions on ballots all across the state.
There are numerous excellent resources for making sense of the glut, such as the guides from KQED and Sacramento State's Project for an Informed Electorate. The full text of each ballot measure is available here, and the Legislative Analyst Office 's appraisals are here.
Follow those links, research the issues, and draw your own conclusions. After all, this is what our elected leaders have forced you to do.
And if you find it helpful, feel free to peruse the notes below for my own recommended vote on each proposition. The guide includes direct links to the Project for an Informed Electorate's video explaining each issue. These videos feature experts in the Legislative Analyst's Office offering objective analysis on each initiative.
Proposition 51: Yes (Would authorize new bonds for school construction, which has not occurred to a significant degree since 2006).
Proposition 52: Yes (Would stablilize Medi-Cal funding for low-income Californians)
Proposition 53: No (Would cripple the state's ability to undertake large-scale public works projects)
Proposition 54: No (Legislative transparency is a good goal, but this approach would actually increase the power of lobbyists)
Proposition 55: Yes (This is a fair-share tax, and the quarter cent sales tax also expires)
Proposition 56: Yes (A rise in cigarette taxes will reduce smoking, which is always a worthy goal)
Proposition 57: Yes (Punitive jail terms do more harm than good)
Proposition 58: Yes (English-only education mandates are a form of immigrant bashing, which is especially toxic this year)
Proposition 59: Yes (The Citizens United decision should be overturned, although this advisory measure will not really do anything to make that happen)
Proposition 60: No (Requiring condoms in pornographic movies will hurt the industry without really protecting the health of the actors)
Proposition 61: No (Drug prices are too high, but this method will give the pharmaceutical industry many ways to skirt the law and keep prices high)
Proposition 62: Yes (The death penalty remains a moral abomination that should be banished from our state)
Proposition 63: Yes (Sensible gun regulations save lives while honoring the Second Amendment)
Proposition 64: Yes (Marijuana possession and smoking should be legal)
Proposition 65: No (A smoke-and-mirrors feint by the plastic lobby)
Proposition 66: No (We should not do anything to speed up the machinery of state-sponsored death. Indeed, we should end the death penalty)
Proposition 67: Yes (A statewide plastic bag ban is long overdue)